Belarussian side FC Dynamo Brest are filling their stands with mannequins sporting cut-out portraits of fans to boost match-day atmospheres while supporters stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The club found a creative solution to the lack of in-stadium support by inviting fans from around the world to buy virtual tickets online. In return, the fans' photos were pasted onto the top half of a fashion dummy sitting inside the stadium, and the fans themselves receive a matchday magazine sent to their home address.
The money raised will be donated toward fighting the pandemic.
Dynamo Brest tested the idea during their 2-0 home victory over Shakhtyor Soligorsk on Wednesday. Stands around the Regional Sport Complex Brestsky were filled with the faces of supporters from countries including Russia, Britain, the United Arab Emirates and Iran sporting a range of overseas club shirts.
Our fans from all over the world seem to be happy! Thanks for your support, guys! 😉⚪️🔵 pic.twitter.com/wX4dCLDtUH— @dynamobrest (@dynamobrest) April 8, 2020
Belarus is the only professional league in Europe still playing, as its president, Alexander Lukashenko, has shown little regard for the pandemic or the need for lockdowns to prevent it spreading. However, many local supporters have stopped attending matches in fear of becoming infected.
Belarus has 1,486 confirmed coronavirus cases and 16 deaths, according to the country's health ministry.
The pandemic has decimated the world football calendar, with all of Europe's major leagues on hold. Football in England, Spain, France and Germany has been postponed indefinitely, while Serie A is suspended until at least April 13.